Looking into the heart of what makes a business great.
Ask anyone what kind of business they’re in and you’ll get a lot of answers: sales, finance, retail, medical, government, technology, real estate… it could go on and on. The truth of the matter is; however, that no matter your industry, the answer is all the same.
We are all in the people business.
For example, at my company, Sudsies, we don’t stress that we are dry cleaners or clothing caretakers. Sure, that’s a big part of what we do. But at the end of the day, we answer to our clients. A shirt isn’t going to appreciate a crisp pressing, its wearer does. We can provide the cleanest clothes (which we do), conquer the toughest stains (we do that too!), restore beloved items to their original glory (once again!), and more. None of that means anything though if the client isn’t happy.
What is it exactly that makes a client happy? It’s the experience. A great product is only a tiny part of the equation. What if I could offer you the greatest product on earth, but to get it you’d have to be inconvenienced, hang out in a dingy environment, and put up with a grumpy attitude from the staff? Maybe, just maybe, you’d consider repurchasing once again only because this product was so great, but eventually you’d get tired of the negative experience and probably move on. Besides, there are plenty of great products out there. It’s the overall attention to the people that make a difference.
Think about what your customers want, as well as what they might want but just don’t know it yet. Most want that great product, but wrapped up in convenience and a positive environment. You need to have those too, but the critical factor is the relationship. They want to know that you have their needs and well-being in mind. The easiest way to communicate that is with a smile. People are individuals, which means you may need to adapt your service style. Some want to be chatted up, others may just want to get their product and go… it’s up to you to gauge how you connect. Regardless of the personality, you need to communicate that the door is always open for them to express their expectations and desires and that you are always ready to happily serve.
Most importantly, being in the people business is not just about your external audiences. It has to start from within. How can you expect your own team to serve with enthusiasm if they are not experiencing it themselves? Think about the work experience and how to breed success, while making it enjoyable for them. Success, happiness, and purpose equals the ultimate sustainability equation. It breeds a positivity, a culture that employees simply cannot help passing onto their clientele.
Now try looking at your professional role in a new light. Start with people, and consider how you have the opportunity to make a difference in their lives, with exceptional products and experiences. I bet your career outlook just got a whole lot more interesting.